This past week, the Pac-12 decided against non-conference games for the 2020 College Football season, following the Big Ten’s lead. It seemed like there would have to be some sort of decision about the season being conference-only soon, and that decision got made in a timely manner.
Does Keeping Pac-12 Games In-Conference Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19?
It was interesting to see conferences make this decision when some of the out-of-conference opponents were closer in location for some teams during the 2020 season. For example, Colorado’s game against Colorado State will not be taking place because of the Pac-12’s decision. While a 64-mile distance between stadiums means that the teams cannot play, CU will still have to play against Washington in Seattle. However, it is understandable why the conference would not want to risk its players playing against others outside of their jurisdiction.
With student athletes and college students in general being on campus this fall, the likelihood of players within the conference getting the virus is very high. It will be interesting to hear if schools set specific rules for student athletes. Can a school take away from a student athlete’s college experience? There are so many unknowns with the process still. The best thing that players and fans can do is be patient with the process. This upcoming college football season is going to be imperfect, but players and fans both want to see it happen.
Pac-12 Schools Have Started Campaigns Because #TheyWantASeason In 2020
College football teams have started to encourage fans on social media to wear masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19. There have been many hashtags used, which include #wearamask, #facemasksforfallsports, and #IWantASeason. These hashtags could help some fans be convinced that wearing a mask is the way to go. It seems that the players want to play, and the coaches want to coach.
The fans also want to be in the stands. Unfortunately, this seems like fantasy at this point. The stadiums will most likely be empty or filled at a limited capacity. Other countries, such as England and Germany, have proceeded with soccer matches is empty stadiums despite lower numbers of COVID-19 cases in their countries. It will be interesting to see what individual leagues decide in the United States. There are places that are not considered hotspots, while there are some areas of the country where it may seem like a stretch to condone any sort of congregation of people at a sporting event.
Lack of National Exposure Against Other Conferences In 2020 Will Hurt Pac-12
If the season goes on in a somewhat normal fashion, the preconceived notions of each conference will most assuredly be present in the College Football Playoff meeting rooms. The Pac-12 Conference does not cut it against the other Power 5 conferences as far as football is concerned. Their conference’s network is only available to stream through the fuboTV and Sling platforms. They will probably have to play a good chunk of their games “after dark”, when a lot of people on the East Coast have gone to bed already.
The Pac-12, at the minimum, will need one of their top teams to go undefeated in 2020 to even be considered for the College Football Playoff. With how the past few seasons have played out in conference play, this will probably not happen. Oregon, who many consider to be the frontrunners in the conference, has the benefit of playing USC and Arizona State at home in the current schedule.
There is not a true second threat beyond Oregon in the Pac-12 as of right now. Utah got smoked by them in the Pac-12 championship. Although Arizona State beat Oregon, they have not shown the consistency to be taken seriously as a CFP contender. Jayden Daniels is one of the bright young stars in the conference, however. A game-changing quarterback helps a team’s chances for success out so much, especially in the college game. USC also has a talented quarterback in Kedon Slovis, but their own fans do not have faith in their head coach.
Pac-12 Fans Should Be Excited About the Prospect of a 2020 College Football Season
Having a college football season would be a welcome distraction for fans from hearing about the virus. Also, it may also be a necessary escape during election season. Fans can play their part in ensuring that there will be college football this season by being vigilant and evaluating risks when they decide to venture outside. If the college football community can rally around their want for a college football season by wearing a mask, it will undoubtedly benefit society.